Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Danse Macabre--chapter 12

Richard spends the first few pages of chapter twelve snuggling with naked Anita and contemplating the texture of Jean Claude's hair. Jean Claude is frozen because Richard is touching him and OMG too much movement might freak Richard out and send him into a snit of homophobia! It's like we're watching Elmer Fudd go creeping across the screen, muttering "Be wery wery quiet. We're hunting straight guys."

Once again, I'm getting that weird whiplash feeling. I am in no way qualified to make this commentary, but I thought Homophobia didn't equal "I don't want that person to touch me" unless there's a "because they're gay" attached to it. (Correct me if I'm wrong, PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong, but "I don't want you touching me because I'm not attracted to you" seems to be like, a baseline for human rights.) Richard's issue doesn't seem to be "Ew, gay people". It seems to be that he's straight, and his sexual boundaries are continually and consistently crushed by Anita and Jean Claude, and he's starting to overreact because that's what continual traumatic experiences do. He never goes on a homophobic "Gays are evil" rant, he just says "I don't want that. I don't want that. Please stop, I said I don't want that. Please stop touching me. Please stop. PLEASE FUCKING STOP I HAVE ASKED YOU VERY NICELY" until he snaps and starts screaming--and even then it's still "I TOLD YOU I DO NOT LIKE THAT AND I ASKED YOU TO STOP." and not "OMG I HATE GAYS." And the only non-straight person Richard ever seems to interact with is Jean Claude, who has the sexual boundaries of an octopus. We don't get to see how he interacts with someone who isn't constantly shoving himself onto Richard. He has the exact same reaction to Anita. Anita is basically walking all over Richard's limits on a weekly basis, and justifying it because it's just Richard's homophobia. Yes. Richard not wanting to have psychic sex with a woman is his homophobia. Explain that, blog-readers. Explain that.

FYI that's a textbook abuser tactic. First, demonize a behavior you don't like, then crush it or ignore it somehow, then explain how justified you are in crushing said behavior because it's just a socially inappropriate reaction and your victim will become a better person for being repeatedly crushed. Bonus points for dressing it up in religion. "Oh, you're not being a good Christian right now because you're drinking, so it's okay for me to hit you/lock you up/do this other thing to do. I'm making you a better person." "Yes, Richard. Let me expose you to sexual situations you do not like because it'll make you a better person. It's not that you're not enjoying this. It's just your homophobia talking."

It's also rather interesting that even though this series is on an "It's okay to be gay" kick, it's apparently only okay when there's a woman (this being Anita) involved. Seriously. Name one gay couple in this series--ONE--that isn't villianized that doesn't involve Anita somewhere. Asher and Jean Claude? Anita. Auggie and Jean Claude? Anita. Asher and Narcissus? Oh, it's a bad, twisted, evil relationship and he needs to come back to the magic vag. Yeah, I'll find the bullshit with Richard to be something like active commentary on gay rights when gay people (or ANY people) are allowed to exist outside of Anita's sphere of sex and not be little demon people.

So the Cape Cod master and his oldest son show up at the door, and we get a few pages of Anita and Jean Claude's robes.

His is furry, hers is not. They're both black. Note how quickly Anita cooperated with Richard's request that she put clothes on.

Richard then takes the blame for what happened in the room. Because it's not enough for Anita to be a textbook abuser. Now we need to have textbook victim responses too.

“Some nights I hate you, Jean-Claude, but if I’d been with Anita tonight, touching her, Augustine wouldn’t have been able to roll her.
"If I stay with him, he won't drink as much." "If I put out, he won't hit me/the children". "If I do this, then the abuser won't do the behavior I dislike so much." Right. Richard wants out of this relationship bad, so anything that happens to the other people in it is his fault. And he's accepted this blame.

Folks, you are not responsible for what another person does. You are never responsible for someone else's behavior. It is their choice to do it. They can choose not to. You are not obligated to prostrate your life in front of someone else's addiction or sex drive, or political ambitions, or anything else. You always ALWAYS ALWAYS have the right to say no and leave.

But Richard basically says "I promise to support you guys and never leave again" and the chapter ends with Anita wondering how true he can keep to that promise. Because it's not like he isn't promising to cooperate with his rapist or anything.

Wait. He totally is.


  1. Nah, LKH has no idea what actual homophobia is or how it works, etc. She actually doesn't seem to have a clue how most prejudices operate and manifest, not even the ones (sexism, anti-poly sentiment) that would actually apply to her IRL, so I can only conclude she's just so hugely sheltered at this point that she doesn't even encounter the ones that she herself actually would otherwise, and thus has no idea how to write them, let alone the ones she has no firsthand experience with (homophobia, racism, etc.)

    Not wanting to get felt up by someone of the same gender is not homophobia. Good lord, I wouldn't want to be felt up period by someone of ANY gender for crying out loud, even if they were a woman of my type. LKH is just trying to demonize Richard in any way she can, and thinks bigotry will be the most unsympathetic way, but besides the fact she can't actually think up how homophobia might actually manifest beyond HEY, STOP THE BAD-TOUCH (because slurs, assumptions that a person *wants* to feel you up just because they're gay, assumptions about what you like or believe based on orientation, etc., she doesn't seem to know exist) since what other reason WOULD a person not wanna get molested (this is the ABverse, remember, where sexual abuse is welcome!) even though that actually doesn't even make sense for Richard, whom Anita first met when he was hanging out naked at JC's circus and has always seemed really comfy with that sort of thing and not minded naked dudes or being around naked dudes because he doesn't see it as omg automatically sexual like Anita does. But now that Gary divorced her, Richard has to be bad in every way. I'm really surprised she hasn't made him a raving racist or something at this point too.

    1. I've noticed that LKH has this kinda fairy-tale idea about what bigotry is really like. Look at all those encounters Anita has with 'bigots.' Each encounter shows Anita in the best possible light. The bigots are always wrong, always raving assholes who immediately get put in their place by Anita. Even if it's a superior officer, he/she still gets shot down neatly by Anita's well-timed and witty retorts.

      I'm mixed and I've grown up dealing with bigots and racists all my life. It's not as pretty and neat as LKH likes to make it out to be. Sometimes...most of the time you don't get to put the bigot in his place. Sometimes you don't even speak up because you know that attempting to reason with someone like this will only make things worse. In the real world, racists don't listen to reason. In the real world the bigots would find a way to keep Anita off of their cases because, rather than letting her walk all over her. In the real world Anita would no longer have a job, think of how hard it's been for minorities and gays to make it in the police force and then compare that to the cake-walk Anita has.

      It's like LKH thinks that bigotry is just about people saying mean things to you and it ends there. Anita acts privileged and entitled, she doesn't act like someone who has grown up as a minority and knows what real bigotry is like. She expects everyone to simply adore her and worship her. She knows that the cops think she's a vampire-slut, but waltzes into the police station in hooker-ware, then complains about their 'attitude' toward her lifestyle. This is not the mentality of someone who deals with racism and bigotry on a day to day basis, this is the mentality of a spoiled privileged brat who expects to always get her way and will curb-stomp anyone who gets in her way.

    2. Yup, she also maintains the delusion that all bigots are overt and upfront and un-ambiguous about it (not true), that they're always hateful and mean-spirited about it (also not true, plenty go about it in nice, polite, well-meaning ways, and sincerely so, especially about LGBT stuff, and let me tell you, that's the worst type to me because it just kills me because THEY REALLY THINK THEY'RE HELPING US) , and that anyone who is a bigot is also just going to be a nasty person through and through (again, not true; the reason that prejudice and discrimination are so widespread is because perfectly nice, ordinary people are culturally indoctrinated that way, which is honestly one of the SCARIEST aspects), and, of course, that all or most of them are happy to say upfront that they don't like x-group (you'll get some of those IRL, but plenty will claim to have no problem with black people it's just XYZ, or it's not that they're homophobic just ABC, and so on. No one likes to believe they are a bigot, ever. But since LKH's villains in general are all happily aware they're evil and mustache-twirling, so are the bigoted ones)

  2. Oh gods, I watched both my best friends go through this with their (thankfully now ex) first husbands - the manipulation, the bargaining, the victim-blaming, the "If I just..." I feel so gross now. I'm so glad I never read this one, I might have had to set it on fire.